What Are the Causes of Tsunamis?

A tsunami is a type of natural disaster that consists of large waves in a body of water, and it can be the result of any event that creates underwater disturbances. The most common causes of tsunamis are earthquakes on the floor of bodies of water, which account for about 75% of all tsunamis. Landslides, in which land moves down into water and pushes the water away from the land, are thought to be responsible for about 8%, and volcanic activity is estimated to cause around 5% of tsunamis. One of the least common causes of tsunamis is meteorological events, which account for less than 2% of these disasters. About 10% of all tsunamis have an undetermined cause.

More about tsunamis:

  • A tsunami's wavelength can be as long as about 125 miles (about 200 km).

  • As of early 2014, the most deadly tsunami is thought to have been the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, which is estimated to have caused more than 200,000 deaths and was the result of an earthquake in Indonesia.

  • Tsunamis can travel as fast as 500 miles per hour (804.67 km/h) and can move across the entire distance of the Pacific Ocean in less than 24 hours.

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